Chinese Shar-Pei General Characteristics
The Chinese Shar-pei is probably one of the lowest maintenance breeds. The do house train easily, being by nature very clean.
They go through a puppy stage but mature quite quickly. Because they mature emotionally quickly this keeps the digging, chewing and general puppy problems minimal.
They tend to be self-exercising and therefore do not necessarily require a large yard. However if you want to walk them every day they will oblige.
This has made them the choice for many apartment dwellers.
Chinese Shar-Pei will be good for you if you require a good steady companion that will keep the house intact, be a guard dog and adapt to a variety of situations.
They will recognize the sound of the family cars but bark if a strange car calls.
Because Shar-Pei are highly intelligent and dominant it is important to ensure that the humans are in charge or they will be. This must be established early or the dog will soon have the best arm-chair. You must firm but kind.
They will usually be aloof with strangers. This is not necessarily shyness, and we have trained some to be quite outgoing. We have also trained some that were shy to be much better, so much so that they became Champions. In many ways they can be like children and we speak to them as if they are. Like children they do like their cuddles. They tend to select a “favourite” family member, who may be the one who spends the most time with and feeds them, but may be the one they see as the dominant one.
We have found them good with cats. There is a suggestion that Chinese Shar-Pei come from the “cat side” of the dog family.
They may not be always be good with other dog breeds especially if the other is dominant too. Shar-Pei may not start a fight but they will probably want to finish one.
We have found that a Shar-Pei dog and a bitch are fine together and 2 bitches can be good too. However 2 dogs may be a problem, especially if there is a bitch in heat nearby, unless the older one has “raised” the younger. It is interesting that the bitches are the most jealous of attention from the “favourite” family member.
There are stories about how difficult Chinese Shar-Pei are to maintain, especially with regards to eyes and coat problems. Good breeders are trying to reduce eye problems and “tack” early if required. However as people like many wrinkles it is difficult to totally eliminate entropion (which is caused by the eye-lash rubbing on the eye) because it is often just the weight of the wrinkles that causes the problem. However one well known vet , who is also a judge, told us that he would rather see a Shar-Pei with an entropion rather then a mouth problem because the former is easily corrected. Eye problems may also be caused by allergic reactions to some plants and therefore not be entropeon. We have been told that some vets try to find "entropean" & skin or other problems in every Shar-Pei they see. Perhaps they just want to make money, as we have heard of "excessive"charges by some.
We believe that many coat problems are caused by allergic reactions. Fleas, dermadectic mange, mosquitoes, some plants/grass seeds and diet have been implicated. It is our feeling that allergic reactions in all dog breeds have increased. This may be due to better diagnosis or change in diet ( eg more dry food being used – many Shar-pei breeders believe that dry food for Shar-Pei should be rice based. In humans too there is now more talk of allergy to foods than there was some years ago.) We have also heard that some may have thyroid problems leading to skin conditions, but have not seen this ourselves. We doubt that this would be a breed specific problem.
There is certainly no need to clean between the folds of Chinese Shar-Pei skin as has been suggested. As they move the skin moves and therefore it "breathes". It is better not to wash them too frequently because it removes the natural oils and this may itself cause skin problems.
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